Solo: A Star Wars Story takes place before the events of A New Hope, requiring actors from the original trilogy to be replaced by younger talent. One character from another point in time in the saga made an appearance in the new film and came to life thanks to some help from a Star Wars Rebels actor.
***WARNING: Spoilers below for Solo: A Star Wars Story***
After Han, Chewbacca, and Qi'ra effectively complete their task and vanquish the villainous Dryden Vos, Qi'ra tells Han to go ahead without her. She then shares a transmission with Maul, whose last live-action appearance was falling down a ventilation shaft after Obi-Wan Kenobi cut him in half in The Phantom Menace.
Actor Ray Park returned to Solo to physically play the character, though, to add more intensity to his presence, Maul was voiced by Sam Witwer, who had previously played the character in the animated Star Wars Rebels. In The Phantom Menace, Darth Maul had been voiced by Peter Serafinowicz.
It's unclear why Witwer replaced Serafinowicz, with one possibility being that the character is in a much different place in Solo than he was in Phantom Menace and Witwer's abilities more accurately reflected his mindset. Additionally, with Witwer having been the defining voice for the character in more recent appearances, fans may have connected more strongly with the familiar voice.
Many fans may have been surprised by the character's appearance in the film, given his "death" in The Phantom Menace, yet the canonical series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels have elaborated on the character's journey.
After his encounter with Obi-Wan, Maul's anger and rage fueled his survival as he clung to life long enough to replace his lower half with mechanical legs. He eventually reunited with his brother, Savage Opress, and the two formed a crime syndicate.
In Rebels, Maul hoped to sway the budding Jedi Ezra Bridger to the Dark Side, yet he ultimately grew consumed by his madness and Ezra was too firm in his beliefs in the Jedi for Maul to achieve his goals.
His appearance in Solo opened up many new possibilities for the future of this spin-off series, as the film ended by teasing Maul could become a more prominent figure in follow-up films.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now.
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